Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
January 5, 2007
There’s a sick collusion going on in Washington.
And I’m not talking about the corporate lobbyists and the elected officials who represent them.
No, I’m talking about centrist Democrats and the hack journalists who cover them.
You could see this collusion in a so-called “News Analysis” piece by Carl Hulse of The New York Times of January 5.
The headline was a big clue: “For Democrats, a Choice: Forward or Reverse?”
Let’s see now. What’s got a more positive connotation?
It’s not reverse.
But reverse in this case means the Democrats “can spend their energy trying to reverse what they see as the flaws of the Bush Administration and a dozen years in which conservative philosophy dominated Congress.”
And forward means “they can accept the rightward tilt of that period and grudgingly concede that big tax cuts, deregulation, restrictions on abortion, and other Republican-inspired changes are now a permanent part of the legislative framework.”
The Times has its directions mixed up. Capitulating is not going forward. Fighting on principle is not going backward.
The piece quotes Rahm Emanuel, the obnoxious Clinton apparatchik who is chairman of the Democratic Caucus and archenemy of Howard Dean. The Times loves Emanuel and all but beatified him in a New York Times Magazine story a few months ago.
Here, Emmanuel says all the focus should be on “restoring economic security to a very vulnerable middle class.”
The piece concludes by supplying the answer to the question in the headline.
“Leading Democrats,” who go unidentified, “say their best direction is forward, concentrating on establishing a new party legacy rather than obsessing with the perceived failings of Republican rule.”
How would Hulse describe destroying the environment, tearing up the Constitution, waging a reckless war, sleeping through Katrina, and curbing women’s rights?
Are those perceived or actual?
Something to accept or something to renounce?
The news analyst for the Times has given you his answer.
Thus does analysis turn into advocacy.